Bigger than a breabox?

NASA has cool article about a meteor strike on the surface of the moon equivalent to 70kg of TNT. However, reading through the article I noticed something curious:

Cooke estimates that the impact gouged a crater in the moon’s surface “about 3 meters wide and 0.4 meters deep.” As moon craters go, that’s small. “Even the Hubble Space Telescope couldn’t see it,” notes Cooke. The moon is 384,400 km away. At that distance, the smallest things Hubble can distinguish are about 60 meters wide.

Interesting that one of the largest and best placed telescopes in the universe, one that can see into the farthest reaches of space and explore the beginnings of time, doesn’t have enough resolution to see anything smaller than this giant pink bunny on our own moon.

Where'd everybody go?

You ever had that helpless feeling. Like you can’t do anything. Like the world is spinning around and you are disconnected from it all. Yeah, my email was down today. First time we’ve had an unscheduled interruption that I can remember, so props to Branden for that (and for jumping off, not out, of the plane and getting it fixed almost before he got back to the house). According to CNN, I was probably better off anyways.

Let me stand on my head facing north…how bout now?

So my “telecom mom” brought home and married her a “sbc daddy”, creating a dysfunctional cellular family with fancy new commercials and a combined color/logo scheme. Cingular Wireless now has 50 million subscribers, nearly one in three cell phone owners. Which leads me to the question, why can I barely get reception in my own home (where statistically there must be at least a half dozen other subscribers within earshot to hear me complain). And why do my conversations regularly get dropped at the same places on my commute home? I’m not quite yet to the point of screaming, “You’ll never be my real dad!”, but I’m not counting out teenage rebellion either.

From Parkesine to Emeraldine Base Polyaniline

So after only 140-plus years, scientists have finally discovered a way to create plastic magnets that pass the elementary tests of magetism (without being cooled at less than 10 degrees Kelvin). Applications being discussed are computer storage media, dentistry and other medical purposes. Although (standard scientific disclaimer coming) “practical applications are probably still a long way off.” Still pretty cool.


After reading a Wall Street Journal editorial about the USA Patriot Act, I decided I should probably download a copy of it and read a little, just to see if I even understand what we’ve gotten ourselves into.

Halfway through the download, my computer crashed. My G4 does not crash, maybe every couple of months. I regularly have weeks of uptime and generally have open 10-20 applications, rebooting only when system updates require.

Nevertheless, trying to educate myself on the workings of my government and my computer goes bonkers. I’m not a conspiracy theorist by any means, but it makes one think.

You Sure About That, Bill?

About a month ago, Bill Gates made a pretty assertive statement about the future of technology hardware. “Ten years out, in terms of actual hardware costs you can almost think of hardware as being free — I’m not saying it will be absolutely free — but in terms of the power of the servers, the power of the network will not be a limiting factor.”

Negligable hardware costs. As I look at new PowerBooks I can tell you for certain, that is not the reality today. But I understand that for a simple internet communication terminal you can call up Dell and get a starter kit for $500 pretty easily. Point taken.

Fast forward to yesterday. Microsoft is expected to recommend that the “average” Longhorn PC feature a dual-core CPU running at 4 to 6GHz; a minimum of 2 gigs of RAM; up to a terabyte of storage; a 1 Gbit, built-in, Ethernet-wired port and an 802.11g wireless link; and a graphics processor that runs three times faster than those on the market today.

Processing power that’s multiples of what’s on the market today? I feel that we might look back on this and laugh at our underestimation of the potential for development. At one point 512K was ALL the RAM you would EVER need. Right. However, something has to drive this investment in the hardware sector. If 90% of the country’s computer users (rough estimate) are going to upgrade to Longhorn whenever it comes out, tech manufacturers are going to deliver the goods. But they will not be free.

Until we can operate our computers as simply as the toaster, it will not cost the same as a toaster. And that’s okay, because I really don’t want to burn my emails.